12 Family Entertainment Center Ideas to Attract More Customers

Are you looking for ways to make your family entertainment center more appealing to new customers? Whether you want to improve your visitor experience or gain greater exposure, various alterations can make your space more attractive to potential patrons.

We’re breaking down 12 ways to improve your business and draw in new crowds. Some of these methods are easy tweaks you can make in a single day, while others require some thought and planning. Explore these helpful family entertainment center ideas to attract more customers and enhance your business!

1. Invest in Anchor Attractions

Family entertainment centers (FECs) can benefit from having an anchor attraction. These features are a major part of what draws people into the space and can set your business apart from the competition.

Your anchor attractions serve as a memorable identifier for your business. For example, kids may remember visiting an FEC that features glow-in-the-dark bowling lanes as “the one with glow bowling.”

Anchor attractions are often an important factor for families deciding whether or not to visit your business. Investing in main attractions is an essential part of enticing new visitors. They are a cornerstone of your business, so keeping these features looking and performing their best should be a priority.

Your FEC can include one main anchor activity or a few key attractions. You can appeal to families specifically seeking out one of your activities or those interested in having a couple of primary options.

The following are a few popular choices for an FEC’s anchor attractions:

  • Arcade games
  • Bowling
  • Bumper cars
  • Laser tag
  • Mini golf
  • Play equipment
  • Rock climbing walls
  • Ropes courses

Choosing a broadly accessible option can be advantageous. When your anchor attractions are accessible to more individuals, families looking to include everyone in on the fun will be more likely to turn to your business.

2. Improve Your Amenities

Improve your amenities

Consumers today are more concerned with quality and cleanliness than ever before. Your FEC will benefit from prioritizing your amenities and investing in their improvement. These features should be tidy and convenient.

Some key amenities include:

  • Bathrooms
  • Concessions
  • Seating
  • Trash cans
  • Changing stations
  • Personal item storage

A thorough daily cleaning schedule is an easy way to improve your amenities. Customers notice when a business is proactive about dealing with messes and maintenance, especially in spaces where kids are playing. Keeping things tidy and well-cared for is one of the best ways to inspire visitors to return to your family entertainment center.

Your business can also attract more families by incorporating new and updated amenities. Potential upgrades could include the following:

  • Secure storage: Your visitors will appreciate having a space to keep their personal belongings safe while they have fun with their families.
  • Private nursing room: Your FEC can offer parents with nursing babies an area or room where they can comfortably feed them in privacy.
  • Supervision areas: Don’t overlook the need for supervision areas! Parents will appreciate a convenient space near the play equipment and games where they can watch over their playing kids.
  • More trash receptacles: Adding more trash cans is another improvement you can make in your FEC. They can help keep your FEC tidier, and visitors will appreciate having them nearby.
  • Free concessions: Consider offering items such as a complementary snack or water with other food purchases.

3. Remember Little Kids

Remember younger customers

Family entertainment centers can draw in larger crowds by incorporating activities for kids of all ages. While older kids tend to have more options when it comes to games and play equipment, smaller kids shouldn’t have to miss out on the fun. Consider dedicating space to your youngest visitors to provide some age-appropriate activities.

Be sure to consider the following factors when creating spaces for little kids:

  • Size: Toddlers and small kids need lower platforms and smaller play equipment than older kids.
  • Parental access: Very young kids require close supervision. When creating an area for them, you should include enough room for parents and older siblings to step in if needed.
  • Interests: Sensory play objects and bright, playful colors are great options for little kids.
  • Challenge: Consider difficulty and age appropriateness when choosing games and activities. Little kids tend to enjoy physical activities that involve using their entire bodies.
  • Excitement: While older kids may enjoy the rush of lots of excitement around them, younger kids often prefer calmer experiences that are less overwhelming.

Some activities and equipment you can incorporate into a play area for younger kids include:

  • Small play structures: Little kids can explore small play structures that feature fun elements like short slides or climbers.
  • Interactive panels: If your business has limited room, interactive play panels are a great option for making the most of your vertical space. Toddlers can put their imaginations to use while also engaging in learning opportunities. 
  • Puzzles and coloring books: Consider some easy additions to your FEC, like tabletop puzzles or coloring books for younger kids to enjoy.

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4. Offer Activities for the Whole Family

Offer activities for the whole family

In addition to accommodating your youngest visitors, explore different ways to include fun for the whole family. If you want to draw more people to your FEC, your business will need to find ways to attract kids of all ages and — most importantly — their parents.

Parents are the ones who ultimately make decisions for their families, so it’s essential to include elements and activities that adults will enjoy. Dedicating sections of your business space to different age groups and challenge levels is an effective way to satisfy the whole family.

The more age groups you can accommodate, the better. If every member of the family can get in on the fun, no matter their age, your business will be more suitable and attractive to more diverse groups.

Ask yourself if your FEC has something for everyone to enjoy. It can be helpful to break down what your business has for people in every age group, from toddlers to preteens to adults. Families will be less likely to outgrow your center’s selection of activities when you offer entertainment for everyone. They’ll be able to come back time after time, knowing that you have something for all family members to enjoy.

5. Integrate Updated Technology

Integrate updated technology

By upgrading your technology, you can improve your family entertainment center and attract more visitors. Creating an exciting experience for your customers is a major aspect of running a family-friendly business. New tech is a great way to enhance their time at your center.

Consider upgrading the following technology in your FEC:

  • Screens: If you have televisions or monitors throughout your space, consider replacing them with something newer and more modern.
  • Arcade games: Old, overly worn arcade games can make your family entertainment center feel outdated. Refurbishing your classics and investing in new high-quality games can transform and uplift your space.
  • Sound effects: Does your FEC utilize fun sound effects for different activities, like bowling or laser tag? Consider upgrading your speakers to create an even more immersive guest experience.
  • Lighting: Fun lighting is one of the best ways to enhance your family entertainment center. Consider getting new lights to create a welcoming and playful ambiance at your business.

Technology impacts your business’s overall look and feel. It can also help improve the efficiency of your processes. For example, a short-staffed facility may benefit from investing in food ordering screens or digital ticket systems.

Your customers will appreciate your attention to detail and all the updated features.

6. Take Care of Frequent Patrons

Building loyalty is an essential business tactic — it’s about five times more expensive to recruit new customers than it is to retain existing ones. Giving meaningful perks to families who visit your FEC frequently is a great way to incentivize people to become return customers.

Here are some ways you can give back to your frequent patrons:

  • Membership plans: Creating membership tiers can inspire your customers to return to your FEC more often to enjoy exciting perks.
  • Annual passes: Annual passes are a great option for families looking to save money. They can purchase a discounted pass and come back throughout the year.
  • Early access: If your facility hosts events or runs special deals, you can give frequent patrons early access to tickets or bargains.
  • Merchandise: You can give merchandise to frequent customers as a thank-you for their business. A useful item like a branded cup or t-shirt can be a good option, filling a need and reminding them of your FEC every time they use it.
  • Discounts: Your center can also offer discounts and special offers to families who visit often.

You can establish meaningful relationships by taking care of your frequent patrons. Offering more to these families demonstrates how much your value them and their experience with your FEC.

7. Rent Your Space for Events

Rent your space for events

Allowing your customers to rent your space for special events can open your family entertainment center to a new market. People may be interested in renting space for events like:

  • Family celebrations.
  • Graduation parties.
  • Birthday parties.
  • Movie or event screenings.
  • Reunions.
  • Field days.

Word of mouth is especially important when it comes to renting out your space. You’ll want your customers to recommend your business to their friends, so take measures to elevate every event experience. When someone rents your FEC, be sure to:

  • Make it personal: Adding personalized signage around your space can enhance the event atmosphere and make your guests feel special.
  • Account for preparation and cleanup time: Build in a few extra minutes before and after the event for your staff to organize and clean up.
  • Ask for feedback: Ask for honest feedback after each event and take note of things you’d like to improve or do differently.

Providing space for special events and gatherings can offer many different benefits for your FEC, such as:

  • Increasing revenue: Renting your space creates a new stream of income to help boost profits.
  • Boosting awareness: Allowing people to rent your FEC for events can extend your outreach and bring awareness to your business.
  • Marketing opportunities: You can market your entertainment center in a new way and position your business as a place for celebrations.

8. Cultivate a Reputation for Cleanliness and Safety

Cultivate a reputation

Safety and cleanliness are two of the most important aspects of running a successful family entertainment center. You can make people more comfortable visiting your business by being transparent about your:

  • Sanitation routines: Clearly outline what your team does to clean and sanitize your facility. You can share the details on your website and post them at your business in places that are easy for your customers to see.
  • Cleaning products: Family entertainment centers should also consider listing the cleaning products they use to keep things adequately washed and sanitized.
  • Facility rules: You can create a safer environment by ensuring every guest knows your facility rules. Make sure everyone knows where they can take food and drinks, and outline areas where you don’t allow running or horseplay. Establishing these rules for everyone will demonstrate the emphasis you place on staying safe at your facility.

Parents also want to know that you’re going to enforce the rules. Let them know your staff will ask anyone breaking the rules to leave, so they can feel more comfortable knowing your team is looking out for their family.

It’s also crucial to optimize your facility’s airflow and ventilation. Proper ventilation is vital for keeping your business’s atmosphere healthy for your team and visitors. Regulating air circulation will help keep your business at a comfortable temperature, making it more enjoyable to spend time there.

9. Provide a Variety of Activities

Provide a variety of activities

Expanding your variety of activities can play an important role in growing your customer base. Families are made up of individuals with all kinds of different abilities and interests, so family entertainment centers need to provide a diverse selection of activities and games to attract new crowds.

Incorporating various mental and physical activities is a great way to accommodate as many people as possible. You can also draw people to your business by featuring opportunities for both social and independent experiences.

Some of the key benefits of providing a variety of activities at your FEC include:

  • Longer visits: Families are more likely to stay longer at your business when everyone has an activity that suits them and their interests.
  • More options: People will come to your family entertainment center with different energy levels. Providing more options allows them to tailor their experience to their current interests and capabilities.
  • Greater offerings: Having more to offer your customers is a great selling point for your business. Be sure to advertise all your offerings to inspire more people to think of your FEC the next time they’re looking for a family outing.

10. Create a Sense of Flow

The family entertainment center design and setup matter — the facility’s sense of flow plays a huge part in customers’ first impressions of your space.

Your FEC can benefit from removing as much friction as possible from visitors’ time in your space to optimize their experiences with your business.

Look at how your guests navigate your space. Is there a specific pathway they tend to take? Pay attention to popular attractions and position them away from other high-traffic areas. Keeping popular areas separate will help with overcrowding when your business gets busy.

Step into your customer’s shoes and identify any areas that may detract from their experience or cause a potential pain point. Ensure every activity is easily accessible and parents have enough space to monitor their playing kids.

If you have a particularly large space, consider providing patrons with a detailed map that includes a suggested route throughout your facility. You might also consider incorporating signage throughout your facility to let people know where to go next.

11. Be Intentional With the Ambiance

Be intentional with ambiance

Don’t overlook the value of ambiance at your family entertainment center. Begin by asking yourself how you want your visitors to experience when they step into your business. Do you want them to feel like they’re stepping into the future? Or do you want them to feel cozy and nostalgic?

Several features make up your FEC’s overall atmosphere, including the following:

  • Lighting: Ensure your walkways are always illuminated and that any activities requiring attention to detail are well-lit.
  • Sounds: Between sound effects and music, it’s essential to manage the noise in your space to avoid overwhelming your guests.
  • Textures: The patterns and textures you choose for your center will contribute to the overall vibe. Make sure they’re cohesive and make sense with your attractions.
  • Themes: The ongoing themes you maintain throughout your space are vital to your ambiance. Your themes might be specific, like a jungle adventure, or more general, like an ongoing color scheme.
  • Space: Keep your activities a comfortable distance apart to avoid overcrowding or leaving too much empty space.

Your facility’s ambiance will make it more memorable for patrons. The environment you create is a major part of your branding and will be one of the first things that come to mind when people think of your business.

12. Plan and Host Special Events

Family entertainment centers can also attract more customers by planning and hosting their own special events. Some examples of possible events include:

  • Rock climbing races.
  • Training programs.
  • Themed parties.
  • Competitions and game days.
  • Half-priced days.
  • Corporate field days.

The energy and excitement of these events can uplift your family entertainment center and boost customer loyalty. Hosting your own events can enhance your business by:

  • Generating awareness: Throwing special celebrations and gatherings at your family entertainment center can help you gain exposure for your business and reach new people who may never have stepped in otherwise.
  • Building brand equity: Events are an extension of your brand and business identity. Executing high-quality events allows you to build valuable equity.
  • Engaging with your customers: Holding special parties and events is a wonderful way to interact with your visitors and learn more about their experiences with your business.
  • Driving revenue: Establishing and fostering connections with your customers at these events gives you the opportunity to guide them through the sales funnel and inspire visitors to come again in the future.

Elevate Your Family Entertainment Center With Play Equipment From SoftPlay®

While exploring ways to improve your family entertainment center business, consider the benefits of incorporating play equipment into your facility.

Soft Play has provided durable indoor playground products to inspire creativity and imagination for more than 30 years. Our innovative products let you create an immersive world for your family entertainment center visitors.

We can help you with play structures tailored to suit your unique space. Are you interested in learning more about play equipment from Soft Play? Contact us to get in touch with a representative to discuss your business ideas for family entertainment or request a quote today!

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